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AGO 1950 No. 253 - April 11, 1950
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Smith Troy | 1941-1952 | Attorney General of Washington

COST OF PUBLIC ASSISTANCE RECIPIENT'S CARE, INCLUDING PERSONAL INCIDENTALS AND CLOTHING, IN COUNTY INFIRMARY

Under chapter 6, Laws of 1949, the Department of Social Security may include in a recipient's grant the total cost of care in a county infirmary, including clothing and personal incidentals.

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                                                                   April 11, 1950

Honorable Roderic Olzendam
Director
Department of Social Security
Olympia, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 49-51 No. 253

Attn:  J. M. Wedemeyer, Assistant Director

Dear Sir:

            You have requested the opinion of this office on the following question:

            "Is it permissible under sections 4 (c) and 5 (c), chapter 6 of the Laws of 1949, to include in the recipient's grant the cost of care in a county infirmary as well as clothing and personal incidentals, since the care appears to be primarily sheltered care comparable to that provided by a commercial nursing home?"

            Our conclusions may be summarized as follows:

            It is permissible under chapter 6, Laws of 1949, to include in a recipient's grant the total cost of care in a county infirmary, including clothing and personal incidentals.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            The pertinent statutory provisions with which you are concerned are as follows:  Section 4, chapter 6, Laws of 1949 (1949 Rem. Supp. 9998-33d.)  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] provides that a senior citizen's grant shall be awarded to any person who:

            "(a) Has attained the age of sixty-five, and

            "(b) Has been a resident of the State of Washington for at least five years within the last ten, and

            "(c) Is not an inmate of a public institution of a custodial, correctional or curative character: Provided, That this shall not prevent the department from paying a grant to meet the incidental and personal needs of a Senior Citizen who is an inmate of a county hospital or infirmary, and

            "(d) Has not made a voluntary assignment or transfer of property or cash for the purpose of qualifying for a Senior Citizen Grant, and

            "(e) Is in need; for the purpose of this act a person shall be considered to be in need who does not have income and resources sufficient to provide himself and dependents with food, clothing, shelter and such other items as are necessary to afford a reasonable subsistence in accordance with the minimum standards, established by the Department pursuant to the budgetary guide provisions of section 5 (a) (1) of this act, which shall assure to each applicant or recipient of a Senior Citizen Grant, a standard of living of not less than $60 per month."

            Section 5 (d), chapter 6, Laws of 1949 (1949 Rem. Supp. 9998-33e) provides that grants shall be awarded on a uniform statewide basis as follows:  that grants shall be awarded on a uniform state‑wide basis as follows:

            "To each Senior Citizen in a county hospital or infirmary whose general subsistence is provided for, but whose needs of a personal or incidental character are not provided for, the Department shall award a grant to meet his needs of a personal or incidental character."

             [[Orig. Op. Page 3]]

            As we understand the facts, at the present time the counties are not providing free care for recipients in county institutions, but the Department of Social Security is meeting the total cost of care for old age recipients who are in county hospitals or infirmaries, and in addition paying a grant to the recipient to cover his needs of a personal incidental character.  In instances where old age assistance recipients are receiving shelter and care provided by a commercial nursing home, the recipient receives a grant which includes the cost of his care in the home in addition to clothing and personal incidentals.

            It would seem that subsection (d) of section 5, supra, does not prohibit you from paying such a grant to a recipient inasmuch as while the recipient is an inmate of a county hospital or infirmary, his general assistance is not provided for but must be met by the department.  It then becomes the duty of the recipient to pay the county hospital or infirmary for his care out of the grant he receives from the department.

            Accordingly, you are advised that it is the opinion of this office that the Department of Social Security can legally include in a recipient's grant the cost of care at a county infirmary as well as clothing and personal incidentals.

Very truly yours,

SMITH TROY
Attorney General

JANE DOWDLE
Assistant Attorney General

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